Comer Children's Hospital gains ground on annual best hospitals survey

Comer Children's Hospital gains ground on annual best hospitals survey

May 17, 2011

Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago has again been ranked among the best children's hospitals in the United States, according to the 2011 U.S. News Media Group's Best Children's Hospitals rankings.

This year, Comer Children's Hospital, which opened in 2005, was highly ranked in nine out of ten specialties, up from three last year, two in 2009 and one in 2008. Seventy-six hospitals are ranked in at least one specialty.

In the 2011 survey, Comer was rated #30 in gastroenterology, #31 in neurology and neurosurgery, #33 in neonatal care, #35 in pulmonology, #37 in cancer, #37 in urology, #42 in endocrinology and diabetes, #46 in orthopedics, and #50 in nephrology.

"Very sick kids need very special care," said Health Rankings Editor Avery Comarow, who has been editor of the America's Best Hospitals and America's Best Children's Hospitals annual rankings since their inception. "The best places for them are pediatric facilities with a deep pool of expertise in their particular illness."

As a major referral center for treatment of complex disease, Comer Children's Hospital cares for thousands of children each year. About 4,600 children were hospitalized at Comer last year, most from the Chicago area, but many from the Midwest and around the world.

Physicians at Comer also provided 40,000 general pediatric and specialty care visits as well as 30,000 visits to the Comer pediatric emergency room.

The hospital is named for the late Gary Comer, the founder of Lands' End, who made a generous gift in 2001 to establish Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago, followed by another gift to build the Comer Pediatric Emergency Department, followed by another donation to create the Comer Center for Children and Specialty Care at the University of Chicago.

Since Comer opened in 2005, replacing the University's former children's hospital, the health care teams there, headed by University of Chicago faculty physicians, have expanded the hospital's reputation as a nationally recognized center for neonatal care, diabetes, pediatric neurosurgery, childhood cancers and other specialties.

Now in its fifth year, Best Children's Hospitals pulls together clinical and operational data from a lengthy survey, completed by the majority of the 177 hospitals asked to participate for the 2011-12 rankings. The survey asks hundreds of questions about survival rates, nurse staffing, subspecialist availability, and many more pieces of critical information difficult or impossible for those in charge of a child's care to find on their own. The data from the survey is combined with recommendations from pediatric specialists on the hospitals they consider best for children with challenging problems.

"We salute Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago," said Comarow. "The goal of the Best Children's Hospitals rankings is to call attention to pediatric centers with the expertise to help the sickest kids, and Comer Children's Hospital is one of those centers."

The only other Chicago area children's hospitals to appear on the list were Children's Memorial, Chicago, which ranked in ten specialties, and Rush Children's Hospital and Advocate Hope Children's Hospital, each of which ranked in one.

For the full rankings and methodology, visit